Life in the Phuh..phuhh..puhharmacy Line

I haven’t been that humiliated since I farted in the middle of a very quiet yoga class.

Here’s why:

Language is the most immediate gauge of intelligence. Articulate, well-spoken people are quickly marked as boasting a robust cerebral aptitude. Conversely, those with an anemic command of the spoken word are viewed as weaker between the ears, regardless of their true mental prowess. 

Case in point: carpe diem (Latin for ‘seize the day’) and YOLO (‘you only live once’) mean essentially the same thing, but even Einstein couldn’t pull off the latter without looking like a twerp:

Humble Hubris Einstein

An avid reader, I’ve long admired prodigious vocabularies and golden tongues in others, and yearn for the same in myself. I dream of the day when 99% of my sentences are indecipherable to the common man.

Or, rather: “I envisage the diurnal course when the preponderance of my colloquy are esoteric to the plebeian hordes.”

Sexy, right? The more cryptic you are, the more attractive you are.

Humble Hubris big words

But lest I grow pompous because I know the meaning of ‘lassitude’ and ‘laconic’, life decided to sock it to me where it hurt the most. Words, those beautiful words I love so, are proving to be my downfall.

Perhaps it was being at my old place of employment, Safeway, that threw me off kilter. Maybe the ghosts of work shifts past spooked me. It’s also plausible that standing in a pharmacy line of a conventional grocery store with nothing but processed foods in sight flummoxed the health freak in me. 

Humble Hubris processed foods

Regardless, there I was, standing in line at the Safeway pharmacy, waiting to pick up my decidedly non-organic drugs. It’s a charmingly simple process, really.  You walk up, state confidently, “I am here to pick up a prescription for (insert your name),” and then you’re done. All you have to do after that is listen to the pharmacist recite the extensive list of terrifying and deadly side effects, most of which are worse than your actual malady.

Humble Hubris side effects

Humble Hubris Side Effects

Humble Hubris side effects

So up walks Heidi Wells, Vocab Snob, and confidently states,

“I am here to pick up a puhhhh… puhhh … puhhh… puh… puhhh puhhh…”

… I couldn’t say it.

Humble Hubris prescription

Humble Hubris prescription

Humble Hubris prescription

I literally couldn’t get the word ‘prescription’ out. I stuttered and stammered, until a few sweaty and traumatic seconds later I decided to cut my losses and just hastily slurred over the word, ending defeatedly with an apologetic, yet clear “Heidi Wells.” If the pharmacist couldn’t understand the rest of my sentence, she could at least know which loser the drugs were for.

Humble Hubris prescription

Verbal stumbling has emerged slowly over the last year for me, in conjunction with other health problems. Due to some cosmic inequality, if you’re a pop star, repetitious, stutter-like lyrics land you on the top 100 chart. For non-famous me, it landed me squarely with the YOLO crowd.

Humble Hubris pop star

While I was writing this post, the stumble struck again, just to rub it in. This time, it was at a restaurant, where I was relishing a very grown-up lunch date with a former boss of mine. When it came time to order beverages, I cheerfully asked for a ‘peppermint pee’, instead of ‘peppermint tea’.

Ummmm … peppermint tea eventually  becomes pee, so I was just thinking ahead??? I might need to take up sign language, as I apparently can’t go anywhere without embarrassing myself.

Humble Hubris peppermint pee

Underneath the flushed cheeks and embarrassment, I know there is a valuable lesson lurking here. When an outside invader wraps its grimy fingers around something you dearly love, you can either thrash about with the invisible foe, or take a good, deep inhale of all the joys that you still have, and release with a laugh those you are called to relinquish. I earnestly hope my health issues retire soon, but if they don’t, I hope with equal earnestness that I can accept with grace the lot I have been given. Why not choose to be happy, because as they say: “YOLO!”

In the meantime – Safeway, could you please establish an online pharmacy? It would spare me a lot of embarrassment. Thuh thuh .. thuh .. thanks!

Turning 21

Like most people, I eventually turned 21. Unlike most people, I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I’ve never liked alcohol. Don’t get me wrong – I relish splitting head aches, massive bar tabs and exploding livers just as much as anyone else. I appreciate real fun.


What I don’t care for is the taste. Seriously, it’s gross. It’s what I imagine pouring toilet bowl cleaner down my throat would taste like. A cute little umbrella and sugar around the rim don’t fool this girl. It still belongs in the toilet.

However, in order to maintain a normal adult social life, I knew I would have to acclimate to alcohol. So on my 21st birthday, perched in a very-grownup booth, I timidly ordered the first drink of my grand new life: a pineapple alcohol-something, generously dressed with sugar. It sounded like a dessert, so I assumed it would be an easy start.

All my fellow partiers were contentedly sipping their drinks when my grunts of disgust commenced.


Back it went to the bar, to reemerge diluted with more pineapple juice.

drink 2

And so this scenario repeated several times, each resulting in me nearly perishing of disgust. In retrospect, the drink must have been 110% pineapple juice by the end, but my sensitive palette just couldn’t take it.

spicy foods

Well, this was quite a pickle. One can’t leave the scene of their 21st birthday bash without finishing a beverage. As I was not intoxicated at that point, I was thankfully was able to concoct a clever alternative: I would just order a full glass of frothy milk! Genius. My taste buds would be appeased and I would maintain my cool image.

So that’s exactly what I did. I drank a glass of milk at my 21st birthday celebration. To this day, it’s the best drink I’ve ever ordered at a bar. My liver and bones agree.

guzzling milk

I suspect there are many others who agree with me about the superior delights of drinking milk while out on the town… primarily 1-yr olds.

baby milk

Those older than 1 year? Perhaps not so much.


It’s been 8 years since that full glass of white goodness, and I still struggle to down any alcoholic beverage not steeped in sugar. Yet still, concerned family and friends continue to insist I give alcohol another chance.

And another one.

And another one.

“Oh, you just have to give it time! You’ll adapt to it!”

That’s like saying you should give that horrible boyfriend another chance. You might just get used to him!

bad boyfriend

Am I really that boring sober? Why would I force myself to acclimate to a thing I can’t stand? I can understand the concept when it comes to showering or work (things that I actually might need at some point in my life), but booze? Why bother? I already have enough trouble not slurring my speech or walking straight.

How to Rationalize Eating Junk Food

Most days, I eat like a monastic rabbit. For those times when I do feel the urge to abuse my body with junk food, here are a few of my favorite rationalizations:

1. Kill bacteria with alcohol

Most modern guts are rife with bacteria that lead to a slew of health problems. Annihilate those suckers with hearty doses of bacteria-killing booze. Alcoholic drinks are also part of a plant-based diet, and no one can claim that isn’t healthy!

juice diet

juice diet2

juice diet3

juice diet4

juice diet5

If you wake up the next morning with a raging headache, that just means the bacteria is putting up a fight as it leaves your body. Don’t stop drinking!

2. Prevent aging with salt

Do you long for guts that are as eternal as the Sphinx and never age? Who doesn’t?? Salt preserves your innards so you can eat garbage forever and look hot while you’re doing it. Stop focusing on outward appearance and instead cultivate an inner bloom. As they say: true beauty comes from within.

Potato chips for a long and sexy life!


3. Bolster your immune system with sugary delights

I’ve heard this line of reasoning from so many people uneducated about health that it must be true: If you consume a lot of sugar, you build an immunity to its adverse effects. Conversely, restricting sweet substances in your diet leads to a weakened immune system, because your body doesn’t know how to fight sugar.

Yep. I’m buying that logic.


4. Skip college and eat more fries

Diets high in fat have been linked to increased intelligence. Book your next birthday party at KFC and always, always keep donuts on hand for quick, on-the-go brain treats.

fat diet

5. Save yourself from a life of delinquency with pop

Everyone is addicted to something. Anyone who claims they aren’t is actually addicted to not being addicted. Succumbing to the enslaving reign of pop eliminates the draw to become hooked on more dangerous substances like drugs or exercise.


6. Chew gum and reduce crime

Chewing gum means you can talk less. Less talking = fewer fights = less overall societal crime.

If you are self-absorbed and don’t care about society, excessive gum chewing also sculpts your jaw line. After a few weeks of vigorous chewing, you can give up exercise all together!

gum chewing

If you feel you could have a problem with not eating enough junk food, seek the help of a qualified dietician or speak to your local doctor. I’ve done what I can to nullify your conscience – the rest is up to you!

War and Peace, War and Peace

One of my super powers is that I have an ego the size of Russia, which compelled me to read Leo Tolstoy’s hefty War and Peace twice, back to back.

I was 18, and like all other 18-yr olds, was spring breaking in Cancun, drinking and reveling in first world debaucheries. And by Cancun, I mean family vacation at Seaside, OR, modestly clad against the chilly Pacific coast weather in sweatpants and hoodies.


During the day, to recover from the previous night’s rowdy board games and early retirement, I was plowing through War and Peace. A respectable 800 pages, saturated with monologues and prosaic descriptions of the chariots of Napoleon’s army, it’s an understatement to say that I was pleased with myself upon completing the tale.

sleeping in

With great pride, my father boasted to my family how commendable it was that an 18-yr old read War and Peace purely for pleasure – and on her vacation to boot. Soon my aunts, grandma and others fortunate enough to be related to me were notified that there was a genius in the family.

Riding on a cloud of euphoria much like Napoleon must have ridden his chariots into Russia, I basked in the glow of my relatives’ admiration. It almost made up for the lack of basking I was doing on the sunless Pacific coast.

vitamin D

However, similar to the quick demise of the French army at the hand of the cruel Russian winter, my bookish triumph rapidly faded when I discovered I had read the abridged version, while my relatives thought I read the unabridged. I could never face them again with any dignity! This nerdy victory was all I had: I was a terrible athlete, didn’t play any musical instrument and was never valedictorian, because there is no such thing as a home school valedictorian.


Clearly, my only option was to immediately read the unabridged version, so that 20 years from now at our family reunion, when everyone is still talking about my feat in hushed, awed voices, I can hold my head high.

So back to 19th century Russia I trudged. Oh, how painful it was. Reading 1,400 pages of a verbose Russian tale that one has just read is the closest thing to mental torture I have ever experienced. Besides trying to remember the increasingly cryptic password for my computer.


But I did it, with only minimal cerebral trauma.

My ego has thankfully shrunk since then – not due to any maturing on my part – but because a decade has passed since I read the book twice and I can’t remember a word of it. Now my only shot at maintaining the worship of my relatives is skipping every family gathering so they can’t query me about the book.

But whatever will they talk about if not my teenage accomplishment? Certainly not their own lives or boring stuff like that.


Good grief, do I have to read it again for the sake of my family??! NooooooooooOOOOoooooOOOoo!

How to Spend Less Time Cleaning the Kitchen

My future chef husband, here is how I am surviving the kitchen before you:

1. Leave dishes in the dishwasher perpetually

Recently I was unloading the dishwasher and came across a few items that I didn’t know where to put. So I did the obvious: left them in for another wash. And then another. At that point inertia took over and I thought, “Why not do this all the time?”

It is not a coincidence that when asked which Disney princess I would be, I choose Belle every time. (Yes, 28-yr olds still discuss their alter-Disney egos.) Her dishes danced, sang and put themselves away. Why are mine so lazy and inanimate?


2. Eat food straight out of the container

So many foods come packaged in containers perfectly suited for eating out of – why move them to another vessel simply for the sake of old-fashioned convention? Modern society is practically forcing us to be lazy, and it’s arrogant to fight progress.


3. Recycle your dishes

If you MUST be a weirdo and eat from actual dishes, but aren’t sly enough to implement the above dishwasher trick, try using the same dishes all the time to avoid cleaning them. With all the preservatives in food these days, you don’t even need to worry about antiquated fears like bacteria or mold.

You will lose the respect of your loved ones who aren’t smart enough to understand this science, but who needs respect and love when you have so much extra time on you hands?

dirty dishes

4. Let food crumbs fall on your clothes

If you think about it, clothes are a convenient, always-available bib. Assuming that you wear clothes, letting food fall on your fashionable ensemble saves time otherwise spent cleaning the counter.

For the fashion conscious, wear clothes that match the color of the food you are eating that day. Also, if you are trying to keep a food diary, it’s a great way to log your dietary intake.

food diary

(I would not recommend this tip for first dates. On the second date, test out the waters by slyly flicking a small morsel of food on your date’s shirt. Upon finding it, if they react with embarrasment, they’re a pretentious jerk and you shouldn’t date them. If they laugh about it with only a casual attempt to brush off the food, you’ve found a keeper. Leave their number for me in a comment below, please.)

Gosh, my future husband better show up quick before I turn into an unrecognizable, food-encrusted blob whose blouse puts food hoarders to shame. You say the apocalypse is imminent? I say bring it on. I have enough morsels in my attire to keep me nourished for months!